Bio: Bruce Schoup was pastor of Peace Congregational United Church of Christ in Clemson, S.C., when the church started a new outreach project. The goal: Build a mobile “tiny house” to serve as temporary residence for LGBTQ people kicked out of their homes due to their gender and sexual identities. Nationally, 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ.
1. What inspired the tiny house project? Peace Church was founded with the intention of reaching out to the LGBTQ community, communicating the message that there are Christians in the area who not only welcome LGBTQ individuals, but affirm them. One day, I saw a tiny house on wheels built by an individual in the area and said, “You know, we can do that.” And lo and behold, right about that same time, a grant offer came along [from the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries] for new initiatives in peace and justice. And the two ideas just sort of clicked together in my head: What a wonderful place that could ultimately be a safe house for LGBTQ people and lift up several concerns. It’s a project that’s easily replicable—tiny houses are a relatively inexpensive space that a person can claim as their own.
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